THE Penang Education Department has taken another step towards football development in the state by organising the first state Under-11 Inter-Zone 9-a-side football tournament.
To get the project rolling, they have entrusted SK Pauh Jaya, fresh from their hat-trick of titles from their age group commitments this year, to organise and host the tournament.
SK Pauh Jaya teacher Amirul Zufri Abdul Jalil, the organising secretary and school’s Under-10 coach, said the two-day challenge starting on Wednesday would adopt a carnival-like system.
“The idea is a brilliant one as it will allow us to unearth more talents.”
Some of the players featuring in this tournament will be selected for the state’s training squad but they will still be eligible to carry out Penang’s challenge into the Malaysian Schools football challenge next year.
Another encouraging sign, added Amirul, was the overwhelming response received.
All the seven zones in the state will be represented in the tournament which will now be an annual affair.
“We will field two teams, SK Pauh Jaya Under-10 and Under-11 outfits, for the Permatang Pauh Zone.”
SK Pauh Jaya Under-10 side are not expected to feel overawed when pitted against a field of Under-11 teams.
Instead, they view the teams as good ‘sparring’ partners after having captured the TYT Cup, an Under-12 tournament in February, before adding the Under-10 crown to their collection in July.
Last month, the same batch of players trained by Amirul helped SK Pauh Jaya to retain the Penang Schools Under-11 title.
Their ability to produce such good results in an Under-11 tournament automatically meant they should be ready to give their other Group A rivals a run for their money when the tournament starts.
They will face SK Sungai Dua (Butterworth Zone), SK Sungai Ara (Balik Pulau Zone) and SK Machang Bubuk II (Bukit Mertajam Zone).
The four other teams in Group B are SK Permatang Sintok (Kepala Batas Zone), SK Jawi (Nibong Tebal), SK Padang Tembak (Air Itam) and SK Pauh Jaya A (Permatang Pauh A).
All Group A matches are scheduled to be held at the SK Sungai Dua ground while the Group B matches will be played at the SK Seri Impian ground in Butterworth.
The two semi-finals and final will be played at SK Sungai Dua on the second day.
Group A: Butterworth vs Permatang Pauh B Under-10 (SK Sungai Dua, 3pm)
Group B: Kepala Batas vs Nibong Tebal (SK Seri Impian, 3pm)
Group A: Balik Pulau vs Bukit Mertajam (SK Sg Dua, 3pm)
Group B: Air Itam vs Permatang Pauh A (SK Seri Impian, 3pm)
Group A: Butterworth vs Balik Pulau (SK Sg Dua, 4pm)
Group B: Kepala Batas vs Air Itam (SK Seri Impian, 4pm)
Group A: Permatang Pauh B vs Bukit Mertajam (SK Sg Dua, 4.30pm)
Group B: Nibong Tebal vs Permatang Pauh A Under-11 (SK Seri Impian, 4.30pm)
Group A: Bukit Mertajam vs Butterworth (SK Sg Dua, 5pm)
Group B: Permatang Pauh A vs Air Itam (SK Seri Impian, 5pm)
Group A: Permatang Pauh B vs Balik Pulau (SK Sg Dua, 5.30pm)
Group B: Nibong Tebal vs Air Itam (SK Seri Impian, 5.30pm)
Group A (champs) vs Group B (runners-up) (SK Sg Dua, 3.30pm)
Group B (champs) vs Group A (runner-up) (SK Sg Dua, 4.10pm)
Winner A vs winner B (SK Sg Dua, 5pm)